It’s been a year since my last post. That amazes me.
The year has been full of changes in my creative life. I have tweaked and retweaked my branding. There are some major elements that I will never let go of. I want to be a positive force through design. Adding a bit of magic to people’s lives by creating things that make them happy, serene or uplift their day is something I will always aspire to.
My next posts will feature a project in which I will do a mini work of art everyday using one of my too many craft books. I look at them daily and know that I should be delving into those pages that I faithfully paid good money for yet they sit on the shelves tightly mushed together just waiting for some attention. Well, attention they will get, finally! I will use a different book each day.
Below is the chosen one. My first in the series of my Craft Book Challenge. Wish me luck!
It’s feels like so long ago since my last post. Ugh!
Anyway — the color study exercise is still fresh in my mind. It actually taught me more than just about how color relates to emotion. It taught me what shades and tones I didn’t really care for. It showed me how the differences within an individual color danced playfully with each other and how sometimes those variations did not play well together at all. Also, how textures read differently depending on the interplay of the shades. The mini monochromatic study was fun yet frustrating and tedious at times but well worth every minute.
The reason I force myself into various art exercises every so often is because little surprise lessons spring up every time.
I will be moving on to making some pieces from the serendipitous fabric I created by scrunching random paint splashes.
It’s a new year! I have a new company name! It is now eclectic cloth. I have been honing my art brand and it has graduated into a more fun design style. Textile collage displaying various themes from love and spirit to pure whimsy fits my all over the place way of creating much better than my previous scheme.
Procrastination will take a back seat this year. Well, that’s the intention anyway. I also intend to make posting on my little art journal blog a priority.
I am ending my posting hiatus by continuing my exploration into color and featuring some monochromatic studies in the form of various textile pieces.
This first piece is a study in white. White symbolizes purity and innocence and is considered a cool color due to it’s relation to snow and ice. There are many shades of white. Snow, pearl, cream, antique white just to name a few. Even beige is actually a shade of white. I have attempted to display some of the soft and beautiful versatility of white in the art quilt below.
I named the quilt wish in whitebecause it’s a big bowl of ice cream and I don’t eat much dairy anymore — I miss vanilla ice cream so much. It is 11 1/2″ x 13 1/2.”
This is the last series of quilts for the project. They are enclosed in a piece of lightly inked canvas. The image was printed on iron-on inkjet printable fabric. I didn’t need to but I stitched it down with some variegated thread.
I am so happy to have completed this self imposed creative assignment. I learned many things along the way and got to use some supplies that were just languishing in my studio.
Continuing to adhere to the project list — three more abstract notions in the form of mini art quilts:
8) “broken record“
Sheet music scraps
Lumiere – pearl turquiose
Golden Fluid Acrylic – ultramarine blue
Golden Gel Medium (Matte)
Cotton embroidery thread – turquoise
Cotton thread – variegated
Blue Painter’s Tape
Clay shaping tool
Water in a spray bottle
I taped the CD (folded the tape unto itself and put it under the CD) to the top of a glass sheet to create a mask. I spread out the paint on the sheet and placed the muslin on top of it to creat a monoprint. After carefully removing the fabric, I then removed the CD, painted it and laid it on top of the circular white spaces that the mask left on the muslin; cut out and glued the music scraps to the painted CD spaces using the matte medium as glue. Some water accidently spilled on the quilt top and made a tiny discoloration on the dark blue background so I decided to spray on a little more water. Hence the batik look of the background. The quilt top was placed onto the felt batting. I made holes in the mica using a very sharp, pointy clay tool to allow for stitching. I hand stitched the mica onto the quilt top and then carefully machine stitched the quilt top and batting to the cotton fabric backing.
Tips: Mica is fragile. Be sure and use a light hand when working with it. It’s a great material for protecting delicate papers.
9) “blowsy scraps“
Painted canvas scraps
Cotton black and white fabric
505 Spray and Fix (fabric adhesive)
Acrylic paint – yellow, black
Polyester thread – copper
I prepped the muslin for dyeing with vinegar and water, boiled the burdock root in water and drained it to get a deep rich coloring. I dipped the muslin and simmered it for over an hour. Well, the results were less than stellar. It was much too pale. No more burdock for me. I should have used blueberries or red cabbage. To reach some type of acceptable hue, I put the fabric back in the pot, added some coffee grounds and let it sit on a very low simmer for an hour. After rinsing, a nice soft beige was achieved. The over-dye job was more successful. I put some diluted yellow paint in a plastic container and scrunched the black and white fabric down in it. I made sure to leave a little of the original fabric undipped to show the contrast. I flicked some black dots on top of the already painted canvas scraps using a toothbrush, to meet the “painting” requirement on the list. Placed the pieces of over-dyed fabric with it’s 505 sprayed, haphazardly arranged canvas scraps on the muslin background. Added some free motion stitching and assembled the quilt.
Tips: Use perseverance when dyeing with natural materials. It can be difficult to get a rich, vibrant coloring. Also, be scrap happy. Save small scraps. They come in handy for a myriad of projects.
10) “floating lotus“
Golden Fabric Medium
Golden Fluid Acrylic – phthalo blue (green shade)
Stencils – lotus, abstract design
Polyester thread – copper
Piece of cut foam sponge
The fluid acrylic was mixed with a small dollop fabric paint medium then spread on top of the muslin leaving some of the fabric’s original white color visible. After it dried I stenciled on the lotus and abstract shapes using paintstiks a stencil brush. I had previously painted a scrap of fusible web and cut out some abstract shapes. The shapes were ironed onto the quilt top, the top was added to the felt and backing.
Tips: Don’t let unusual color combos scare you. I discovered that I love the uniqueness of blues and dark brown together. Regarding fusible web, if you decide to iron on painted fusible, don’t leave the iron sitting on it too long. I did that and it darkened the paint and took away the original glittery look of the paint.
The project is finally complete. Time surely flies when life happens.
I made fourteen sample mini art quilts in addition to the initial 3D applique technique quilt. Each one is 6″x 8″ and has three techniques and/or elements from the list except for the last one which has four. They are all bound with a zig zag stitch, have raw edges and a cotton fabric backing. Any applique work was also done with raw edges. Here a is link to how the project changed from it’s original intent.
I will post them in a series of three quilts at a time and include a list of the supplies I used, a summary of each piece, and some tips for anyone who might want to try a little mixed-media.
This exercise was so much fun but it was challenging at times. I learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t. For instance, I will probably never do fabric manipulation using fabric paper ever again. The paper was too stiff and difficult to work with. The results of spraying alcohol on fabric in order to create a marker bleeding effect was not worth the fumes. I also learned some new techniques that I absolutely love and will incorporate again and again in my pieces. Low loft batting looks amazing painted and sealing tea bag paper with polymer medium yields a cool leathery look.
Playing with unfamiliar materials is a great way to experiment and ease out of your comfort zone as an artist. Sometimes we can get bogged down in repetition using only the supplies we’re used to and get stuck in a creative rut.
Perhaps I would have never uncovered any of the useful lessons I learned had I stayed in my little artistic cove of fear — afraid to open my bottles and jars which were moving closer and closer to their expiration dates — standing there wondering about my mysterious unopened packages of colorful painting tools. I finally, bravely ventured out. One of the greatest things an artist can do.
Okay, so I love sports and I have an admission. My lengthy creative block has turned me into a procrastinating sports blogger. Yes, I have been commiserating with knowledgeable and amusing blog posters rather than creating meaningful art. And yes, I have dabbled in my supplies and experimented with various fabric scraps but nothing that I feel is good enough for anything more than a sample piece has emerged. What little colorful musings my mind has been generating has gone into typing words about my favorite team.
Although my block seems to be dissipating, I still don’t feel there yet. I must spend more time splashing colors on canvas and stitching my beautiful cloth. Creative juices only flow when they are poured. Maybe a little meditation is in order as well.
Okay. So my home sale hiatus is officially over. No excuses. I have resumed creating–making bags and things, refreshing my soldering skills, etc. I also applied to a local show. I haven’t heard back from them but I’m hopeful that no news is good news.
Collage looks easy because it seems like a jumble of stuff put together randomly without rhyme or reason but making the various elements make sense is a process. It is a fun process though. Fabric collage is an especially good time for me because I get to dabble and play with all of that beautifully designed cloth with little fear of making a mistake. And if I feel I have made a mistake, it’s okay because fabric art is fixable using an old standby called “mixed-media.” A little (or a lot) of gesso and some paint is all it takes to start anew. Thank goodness for paint.